Buying Local Food and Growing It Seems Like a Good Idea


What kind of Fertilizers Do Those Spanish Farmers Put On Their Crops?

by James Glaser
June 3, 2011
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There is a bad outbreak of E. coli happening in Europe right now. Hundreds of people are sick and 18 have died so far.

The European Food Safety Alert Network initially said EHEC was found in organic cucumbers originating from Spain, packaged in Germany and distributed to countries including Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg and Spain.

Some scientists suspect the deadly E. coli might have been in manure used to fertilize vegetables.

Kruse said it is not uncommon for bacteria to evolve and swap genes. It is difficult to explain where the new strain came from, she said, but bacteria from humans and animals easily trade genes.

You know, I think about things like this every winter. You go to the produce section of the supermarket and look at the country of origin of all the beautiful vegetables to find out that most are coming from Central America, but a lot of citrus is coming from Spain and other Mediterranean countries.

I don't really trust our corporate farms here in the US that much, as they are out to make the most money they can, but we do have some food laws. I don't know what kind of inspection system foreign countries have, and that worries me.

I have been reading health reports by a Dr. Mercola for a few years now, and I remember how in one video his advice was to eat just as much local produce as you could when it was harvest time in your area, and then can or freeze what you might need for the rest of the year. Like right now, our tomatoes are doing well, and we are eating more now than any other time of the year. I hope to cook some down into sauce and then freeze it.

Local farmer's markets are filled right now with just about every vegetable you can think of and "You Pick" peach orchards, blueberry farms, and soon grapes will be ready, too.

I was in Wal-Mart a while back and they had canned tomatoes on sale, and they were from Argentina. Our country produces way more tomatoes than we can eat, yet we import them from thousands of miles away. That might make sense price-wise, but I don't think it does when we think about safe food to eat.

I have been buying blueberries from Florida for weeks now, and you can watch how the ripening moves north by reading the city of origin on the carton label. We are now getting them from Georgia, and in a few months they will be coming all the way from Michigan.

Yes, I know those foreign grown fruits and vegetables are so tempting in winter, but who knows what kind of chemicals and fertilizer was used on them? When I was a kid, you just couldn't get fresh produce in winter, and how thrilled my mother was when my dad brought home fresh oranges that a Mississippi River barge man gave him. They were the first of the season.

All those foreign crops look so good, and they do taste good, too. However, this outbreak in Europe should make us all think about what we are eating and where our food comes from.

During World War II millions of Americans had a Victory Garden because food was not being shipped around the world. Those gardens faded after the war, but from my own experience, I can tell you that no food from any super market ever tastes as good as the food you grow in your own garden.

In your own garden you can control everything. You don't have to use any chemicals, and you can make your own fertilizer by composting your yard waste (grass clippings and leaves) and the green plants that are left after you pick your vegetables. Farmers markets are great because it takes a lot of work to produce all the food you need in your own garden, but as good as that is, nothing touches the taste of fresh picked-produce you bring right into the house just before dinner and eat it right away.

Safe food is a necessity, and we should do all we can to make sure that is what our families are getting.

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